Bad Timing / Good Timing

25 January 2010
A few days ago, an agent wrote to me saying that she had read my entire manuscript (she had previously requested I send her the whole thing). She had some very nice things to say about the manuscript, though she said the first half dragged a bit. Halfway through her email, she told me she regretfully could not take me on as one of her clients. She cited the economy as a reason.
Today, I wrote back to her sympathizing with the current economic climate. I told her of my plan to have the book professionally edited, even asking her if she would be willing to specify what she feels would be an ideal length for the first half. A couple of hours later, she responded by saying something like: “James, I was being honest when I said I couldn’t take you on as a client right now. Ask me again in two years.”
This seemed odd to me, as I was unsure how she could’ve mistaken my words as an indictment of her honesty. (Shouldn’t reading comprehension be one of her strong suits?) Weird.
This seems to be something of a theme in my life: I go to college after moving out on my own and getting married, I buy a townhome when the price of housing is skyrocketing, then buy a house when the market is even worse. When I got hired at Lenscrafters, it was an employer’s market, and I was chronically underpaid for the first five years I worked there. Now I’m shopping a book around when no one is buying books.
My timing is all wrong.
Maybe I should invest in a newspaper business right now. Or buy stock in a VCR company.

26 January 2010
Speaking of timing…
My wife and I are about six months away from having our second child. Yes, that’s right, I have once again infected my wife with that sexually transmitted disease known as “life.”
We had an ultrasound a couple of weeks ago, and they checked to make sure everything looked normal. (Looks can be deceiving though: I guarantee that little fetus has OCD.) That’s about the only sort of ‘medical’ thing we’re going to do, though. I think of having a baby as just another thing a body does… it’s natural and there’s no need to interfere. I mean, of course, things can and do go wrong, so I’m grateful to live in a country that has outstanding (if unaffordable) medical care.
Today we interviewed our fourth and final midwife. The idea of a midwife is to come to your home when you’re about to give birth and provide any support that you need. Notice: this is different than the doctors, nurses, and midwifes at hospitals, who are there to provide any support they possibly can. Ideally, I wouldn’t even want a midwife there, but I suppose they’re kind of like a car mechanic. Yeah, that’s right, I said a car mechanic. Let’s say I plan to drive across country – I can do it. I know I can do it. Sure, there’s bound to be some necessary maintenance, such as refueling and checking the air in the tires. And there is the remote chance that something will go very wrong. So I’ll hire a mechanic to sit in the backseat and ride with me. He’s not going to interfere unless he really has to. And I mean REALLY has to; if there’s just a flat tire, or if I need my battery jumped, I can handle that. He’s just there for the very unlikely stuff.
I hope that makes the idea of a home midwife understandable to the men who are reading this.
At any rate, at the ultrasound we asked not to be told the gender (which probably was nearly impossible to tell this early anyways). So who knows? A boy? A girl? We don’t know. This means we have twice the work: we have to pick out two names. The upshot is that we have twice the number of names we can immediately cross off: James AND Jennifer.

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8 Responses to Bad Timing / Good Timing

  1. david says:

    I’m never very clever at catching these things, but something about this post strikes me as sexist. If I’m reading this correctly, you are saying that women are more likely to fall victim to the appeal to nature fallacy and the more logical gender of our species require a car analogy to be duped by it. 😛

    Congratulations. Considering the ordeal you guys went through the last time, the homebirth midwife thing seems like a very smart choice. And are you saying that if you knew it was a boy, the name “Jennifer” wouldn’t have been crossed off? How progressive of you.

  2. James says:


    Yeah, if someone else had written this post, I’d decry it as sexist. If I don’t understand something, then reframing it in an automobile setting would NOT help me understand.

    Hm…you caught me not being as clever as I thought I was being. Yes, of course we crossed “Jennifer” off the list last time, too. But since we knew the fetus was male, we ignored all strictly-female names from the get-go. To get technical, there are many other names that are automatically off our list, too (e.g., any name currently in use by any of our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, and nieces).

  3. Mike says:

    Michael is a very nice name as is Michelle !!

  4. Mike says:

    OH, I forgot, CONGRATULATIONS to the two of you!

  5. James says:

    Hey, thanks Mike.

    “Michael” is a fine name, but it’s already in use by one of my cousins. “Michelle” is my sister’s middle name (albeit with a single L).

  6. Cory says:

    I want a t-shirt that states:

    “I infected my wife with a STD called Life”

    That is a classic.

  7. James says:

    Wow, glad to see I’m so quotable that t-shirts are in order! Maybe I’ll get a booth at the next State Fair and sell t-shirts with that slogan on them. For the ladies, I’ll sell shirts that say: “I had sex with my husband and all I got was this lousy fetus.”

  8. Cory says:

    Count me in for one of each.

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